Every year we have attended the county administrator’s budget workshop with his staff. Last year was difficult, as needs were great and money very tight. Despite that, three of the five county commissioners refused to put a sales tax on the ballot to begin paying for deferred maintenance and other vital needs.
This year, after attending the workshop, I fear it is much worse. There is nothing left to cut without really lowering more standards and cutting services even more.
We who attended these workshops recommend an added sales tax of one cent, over 40 percent of which will be paid by tourists and none of it shared by other entities.
I predict things will get worse, especially since the powers in Tallahassee are offering an additional $25,000 homestead exemption that no one will vote against. So, another $10 million will be gone from our depleted coffers. Things will be getting worse, if that is possible.
The commissioners will be forced to raise property taxes if this is not stopped. Therefore, I want the commissioners to allow you and me to vote on the state of our finances. It is our money and our living standards; we must be allowed a say or part in this serious financial decision. We all have a right to be part of the decision.
Our administration has done a splendid job in budgeting our money. But even they cannot create money out of dross. We have a source available; allow us to choose to use it. Now.
It is the right thing to do. It is not only a choice of cutting services or paying more taxes. There is a third choice.
I want the right to vote for that choice.
Ponte Vedra Beach